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Preview: Italy v Romania

Preview: Italy v Romania

2022 Guinness Six Nations Championship Round 5, Principality Stadium, Wales 19/3/2022 Wales vs Italy Ange Capuozzo of Italy celebrates with Montanna Ioane Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Andy Watts

Italy host Romania in Round 3 of the Summer Nations Series in San Benedetto del Tronto as both two sides search for a first win of the summer with the Rugby World Cup looming.

Kieran Crowley’s men have lost both of their opening matches, falling to Guinness Six Nations rivals Scotland 25-13 before a 33-17 defeat to Ireland a fortnight ago.

Romania meanwhile were beaten by USA and Georgia and will be hoping the step up into the Summer Nations Series can inspire them to an impressive win.

Team News 

Ange Capuozzo returns to the fold for Italy for the first time since the Guinness Six Nations as he has finally recovered from a shoulder injury.

He is one of seven changes, which also includes captain Michele Lamaro returning to the starting XV.

Alessandro Garbisi joins his brother Paolo in the half-backs and Luca Morisi comes in at inside centre.  Niccolo Cannone regains his place in the second-row berth, while both Simone Ferrari and Ivan Nemer return at prop.

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Romania too have rung the changes from the side that lost 56-6 to Georgia.

Eugen Apjok has made 11 changes to the side, most notably seeing No.8 Cristi Chirica captain the side for the first time in two years.

Only second rows Stefan Iancu and Adrian Motoc remain from the forwards, while in the backs there are also only two survivors from Tbilisi in the form of centre Taylor Gontineac and winger Nicolas Onuțu.

Ones to Watch 

After having his debut cut short due to a head injury against Ireland, Paolo Odogwu will get a second chance to catch Crowley’s eye ahead of the World Cup.

Named on the right wing in an exciting back three alongside Monty Ioane and Capuozzo, Odogwu’s power, pace and eye for a gap is something that certainly makes him one to watch.

Equally at home on the wing or at centre, Odogwu is the sort of player Crowley is looking for to complement his already exciting back line.

Now he just needs that one performance in the shirt of the Azzurri to convince Crowley he has what it takes at international level and book his place in France.

Having just named their squad for the World Cup, one Romanian name in particular caught the eye, or rather what was next to his name.

In a rather spectacular U-turn, they have a brand-new captain ahead of the World Cup, after regular captain Mihai Macovei stepped down from the role.

That immediately makes Chirica one to watch on Saturday as he tries to change the Oaks’ fortunes.

Stat Attack 

  • The two sides first met in 1934, with Italy claiming a 7-0 win that day.
  • Italy defeated Romania 45-13 last time the two sides met in 2022 – their first win on Romanian soil since 1991.
  • In the 43 matches between the two sides, Italy have won 24, Romania have won 16 and three matches were drawn.
  • Italy made history with a 28-27 win over Australia in the Autumn Nations Series but have lost their last eight matches in a row since, while Romania have won just one of their last five, showing how important this match is for finding form ahead of the World Cup.


Italy: 15 Ange Capuozzo, 14 Paolo Odogwu, 13 Juan Ignacio Brex, 12 Luca Morisi, 11 Monty Ioane, 10 Paolo Garbisi, 9 Alessandro Garbisi, 1 Ivan Nemer, 2 Giacomo Nicotera, 3 Simone Ferrari, 4 Niccolo Cannone, 5 Dino Lamb, 6 Sebastian Negri, 7 Michele Lamaro (C), 8 Toa Halafihi

Replacements: 16 Epalahame Faiva, 17 Federico Zani, 18 Pietro Ceccarelli, 19 Federico Ruzza, 20 Lorenzo Cannone, 21 Alessandro Fusco, 22 Tommaso Allan, 23 Lorenzo Pani

Romania: 15 Hinckley Vaovasa, 14 Marius Simionescu, 13 Jason Tomane, 12 Taylor Gontineac, 11 Nicolas Onuțu, 10 Mihai Mureșan, 9 Alin Conache, 1 Iulian Hartig, 2 Ovidiu Cojocaru, 3 Alexandru Gordas, 4 Adrian Moțoc, 5 Ștefan Iancu, 6 Damian Strătilă, 7 Vlad Neculau, 8 Cristi Chirica (C)

Replacements: 16 Florin Bărdașu, 17 Alexandru Savin, 18 Gheorghe Gajion, 19 Mihai Macovei, 20 Dragoș Ser, 21 Florin Surugiu, 22 Gabriel Pop, 23 Manumua Tevita


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